On the outside the house looks like any other home.  Inside, kids sit in the living room watching cartoons and playing with toys while a toddler in a highchair eats a pre-dinner snack, a pretty normal scene.

Except that there are no moms and no dads. 

Instead, there are caregivers – employees obviously hired for their compassion, sincerity, and all-around coolness.  This is a children’s crisis shelter, a wonderful place that gives children in crisis, whatever that may be in their lives, moments of home and safety.

We arrive at Children’s Haven arms loaded with lasagna, veggies, and bread – enough to feed a small army, more than enough to feed this house filled with children.  Our monthly dinner with these children is our family’s way to give back, to even out the balances.

But I also come with ulterior motives. 

I come to give my children perspective.

I come to cultivate an awareness of how much even our smallest actions can change the lives of others, just like how much our lives were changed by the people around us after the tornado. 

I come to show my kids that little things are important – a dinner, a smile, a presence. 

I come armed with more ulterior motives than food. 

Then the little boy turns to my son and asks him, “Are you homeless too?”

And in an instant my ulterior motives disappear.  This child is not an object lesson.  He is a little boy without a home.  And his innocent question pierces my heart and the heart of my husband and the heart of my son. 

Are we homeless too?

No, sweet child, because of the kindness of strangers and grace beyond understanding, we are not homeless.   And you gave me so much more than what I came prepared to give you.  And, for tonight, you’re not homeless either because you’ve found a haven.  And there’s not one among us who won’t need a haven at some point in life.

If you’re interested in learning more about Children’s Haven please click this link.  If you’d like to help, there’s a Needs List posted on their website.  We live in the shade of each other.

2 thoughts on “Haven

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